Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) and CFM International announced the launch of the C919 jetliner programme, powered by CFM’s LEAP-X1C engine on the opening day of the Zhuhai show.
The aircraft’s launch customers are: Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, CDB Leasing and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). The companies have ordered a combined total of 100 aircraft, with first deliveries scheduled for 2016.
“We are obviously honoured by the strong show of support from China's major airlines evidenced by these launch orders,” says Eric Bachelet, president and chief executive officer of CFM International. “All of them are long-time CFM customers and we look forward to embarking on this exciting new era with them. Over the next few years, we will work closely with Comac to develop the engine and certify the C919.”
GECAS signed a letter of intent with the manufacturer for five aircraft, plus five options. Half of the quoted 100 orders are firm, while the remainder are options. China’s three largest airlines – Air China, China Southern and China Eastern – have reportedly ordered as many as 20 aircraft each.
Comac selected the LEAP-X as the sole western powerplant for the C919 in December 2009. The airframe manufacturer has forecast global demand for more than 2,000 of the aircraft over the 20 years.
According to CFM, the two companies are now nearing the completion of the joint-definition phase of the programme and CFM is on schedule to freeze the LEAP-X design by the end of 2011. The first full LEAP-X engine is expected to begin testing in early 2013.
The engine maker says Comac has opted for a complete Integrated Propulsion System (IPS) for the C919. CFM will provide the engine and – in partnership with Nexcelle – the nacelle and thrust reverser, delivering a complete IPS solution.
CFM, a 50-50 joint venture between Snecma and General Electric, is the world's largest commercial aircraft engine manufacturer. In 2008, the two companies renewed the partnership to the year 2040.
Donghai Jet orders five Bombardier Challenger 300s
Bombardier Aerospace confirmed a firm order for five super mid-size Challenger 300 jets from charter operator Donghai Jet, based in Southern China. The total value of the order is approximately US$121 million, based on the list price for typically equipped aircraft.
Upon delivery, the aircraft will join a new Challenger 605 jet, which was delivered to Donghai Jet’s headquarters in Shenzhen on 13 November. The Chinese customer will soon operate the first Challenger 300 and Challenger 605 jets to be based in the country.
“This order is a very important milestone in the growth of our fleet of Learjet, Challenger and Global business jets in Greater China,” says Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft.
Donghai Jet was jointly established by Shenzhen Donggang Investment Development, East Pacific Holdings and Win Glory Enterprises, a Sino-foreign joint venture. In addition to charter services, Donghai Jet also provides trading consultation, management and maintenance services for business jets.
Eurocopter highlights growing role in China
Eurocopter used the Zhuhai show to present its AS350 B3 Ecureuil helicopter – the company’s latest newcomer in China – and the EC225, the Chinese market’s leading heavy twin-engine helicopter.
In the show’s static park, the company displayed an AS350 B3 operated by the China Southern Power Grid and an EC225 from the Rescue and Salvage Bureau of the Ministry of Transport.
The AS350 B3 was certificated in 2009 by the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC). By the end of 2010, six helicopters of the type will be operating in the country – primarily for general aviation purposes.
Another of the helicopters was delivered in October to the Huaxi Village Group for general, corporate and utility use.
The EC225 displayed at the show is one of two operated by the Rescue and Salvage Bureau, which is to take delivery of two more in 2011. Other Chinese EC225 customers include: Citic Offshore Helicopter, with two helicopters for offshore operations; and the Guangdong Province Public Security Department, which received an EC225 in September for police and firefighting missions.
According to Eurocopter, there are 22 helicopters from the Super Puma family in China, growing to 27 by the end of next year – of which ten will be EC225s. This confirms the EC225’s capabilities as the best performer in its category, and proves its mission versatility in a wide range of operations.